Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brunch at the Galvez

Our brief tour of the magnificent Galvez Hotel in Galveston, Texas, (see yesterday’s entry) prompted us to return the next Sunday for the hotel’s acclaimed brunch buffet. We were seated in the beautiful high-ceilinged Galvez Bar & Grill, but we did notice that the large event spaces were also being used. And we were somewhat surprised to find the buffet tables set in the lobby where, when service was at its height, diners were required to dodge departing guests who were rolling their luggage through the buffet. Had I been running things I would have spread the buffet through the larger event spaces—but who am I to criticize? (This photo was taken later in the day when the crowds had dispersed.)
As with most brunches, the offerings included traditional breakfast foods along with lunch/dinner choices. If you were in the mood for breakfast, you could have Eggs Benedict, waffles, omelets (these latter two made to order), bacon, sausage, and blueberry topped cheese blintzes. If you were in the mood for lunch, you could choose from iced seafood (shrimp, raw oysters, smoked salmon, and king crab legs), gumbo and clam chowder, Caesar salad, roasted and mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, vegetable medley, pasta, bourbon glazed ham, jerk chicken, chipotle glazed pork loin, and prime rib.

After receiving our mimosa (Chuck) and glass of champagne (me), I ventured forth to create my first plate and to reconnoiter the set up.
I returned with a plate containing chilled plump Gulf oysters, boiled shrimp, and smoked salmon. Perhaps I am longing for Louisiana, but I couldn’t help but wish that the shrimp, which were large and well-cooked, had been boiled with some crab/shrimp/crawfish boil seasoning.
Chuck came back from his initial foray with what you—I certainly did—might find to be an unusual assortment of food.
His plate contained a few shrimp, one roasted potato, a cup of clam chowder (which was somewhat unusual since it contained corn and peas), a piece of cheese, a couple of slices of bacon, and the vegetables (green beans, zucchini, and cauliflower [which he shoved to the side], which had been sautéed with garlic.

I next sampled a cup of decent, but not great, seafood gumbo that contained the Cajun holy trinity of onion, celery, and green bell pepper along with shrimp and okra.
Chuck’s next plate contained more of the garlic sautéed veggies, more bacon (This was very good bacon.), two more roasted potatoes, and two very thin slices of prime rib.
While the prime rib was, for the most part, nice and medium rare, we couldn’t help but compare it unfavorably with the thick slabs of prime rib we were served at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon.

My turn again. And you will note that I have thus far managed not to consume a starch or vegetable. This streak continues, and I returned with (from left to right) the bourbon glazed ham, chipotle glazed pork, and jerk chicken.
The ham was juicy and tender and not the least bit salty; the pork was cut too thick for my taste, and therefore, I think, too tough and chewy; and while I am not sure how authentic the jerk chicken was (I have limited experience with Jamaican jerk.) it was not overly spicy and rather tasty.

Chuck was a bit more selective with his third plate and only returned with more roasted potatoes and more prime rib.
He ate enough potatoes that noon for the two of us.

It was time for dessert, and again comparing the Galvez unfavorably with Seven Feathers, I found the choices of peach cobbler, cheesecake, lava cake, bar cookies, and ice cream to be rather uninspiring. So instead I selected a cheese blintz from the breakfast station along with a good-sized portion of tangy bleu cheese.
The blintz’s creamy center was encased by an ultra thin pancake and the slight acidity of the blueberries cut the richness of the dish.

Before going for his dessert, Chuck wandered off to photograph the pianist who had entertained us while dining.
On the way back to our table, he took a turn for the dessert table. Here three native Galvestonian women (Bonnie, Daisy, and Dottie) struck up a conversation with him. After covering topics of travel, sights to see, and a bit of Galveston history, he gave them a card with our blog address on it.

(And not long after that meeting, they read some of the blog entries and passed on the information to Clyde Steddum, the Vice Chairman of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees. The next thing we knew, the four of them and Clyde’s wife Margo dropped in for a visit. What a pleasant surprise. This was followed with an invitation to join them at the next Sunday church service and lunch together after church.)

Back to Brunch.

Following the conversation at the dessert table, Chuck returned with a slice of good, although not overly memorable, cheesecake.
Through our meal, I kept thinking back to the Seven Feather’s buffet where we were served equally good if not better food at half the price. So my rating of 4.0 Addies reflects that comparison.

To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.